Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24: Broccoli Rabe With Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

I love broccoli rabe. For one thing, every time I make it, I feel like Carmella Soprano. Learning to like it has come hand-in-hand with learning to like greens of all kind. Turning on to cooked greens was tough for me--everything tasted like hot lettuce to me, until I started getting good greens, not overcooked, skunky, slimy greens that smell like Oscar the Grouch's armpit. Have I mentioned that my mother is good at many things, but cooking isn't always one of them?

Broccoli rabe can be tough and bitter; blanching it in well-salted water takes care of both of these problems. Once it's tender, you can saute it with any combination of good aromatics and eat it as a side dish, or toss it with cooked pasta and cooked, sliced Italian sausage with lots of grated parmesan cheese. It's not always easy for me to find broccoli rabe in the grocery stores, but when I can, I buy as much of it as is practical. I love it. This serves 4.

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 14 ounces), washed, bottom 2 inches of stems trimmed and discarded, remainder cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
table salt

1. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in broccoli rabe and salt and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 1/2 minutes. Drain broccoli rabe and set aside.

2. Cool empty saucepan by rinsing under cold running water. Fill cooled saucepan with cold water and submerge broccoli rabe to stop the cooking process. Drain again; squeeze well to dry, or spin dry in a salad spinner.

3. Heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add blanched broccoli rabe, and cook, stirring to coat with oil, until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt; serve immediately.

1 comment:

Ritchie said...

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Thanks for sharing.